YuleTide: Customers Go Through Hell In Lagos, Ogun Banking Halls, ATM Points

LAGOS DECEMBER 15TH (NEWSRANGERS)-With Christmas and New Year around the corner, most bank customers in Lagos and Ogun state, seem to be going through hellish experiences in the various banking halls, investigations conducted by our regional reporter reveals.
It is not limited to bank customers in Lagos and Ogun state alone as media reports have it that the banks nationwide are presently under siege, so to say, where more people withdraw money than save.
However, our observations in the last few days around Lagos revealed that in high density areas, where lots of people live or do business, like Iyana Ipaja, Surulere, Mushin, Ojuelgeba, Agege, Yaba, Oyingbo, banks are located around bus-stops, and people storm these banks as early as 5 a.m to either use the automatic trading machine or enter the banking halls to do one transactions or the other. .
However, it was a different ball game when our reporter visited Zenith bank, GTB, FCMB, First Bank located at Ikeja GRA in Lagos on Tuesday, where fewer people were spotted at the banking halls of these banks.
A staff at the customer service unit of Zenith bank at Ikeja GRA said his bank is strategically located within the government reserved area, where the high and the mighty in our society either live or locate their businesses.
But, an official of First bank, Iyana-Ipaja branch in Lagos said in high density areas and around bus-stops, most bank prefer to locate their branches there in order to attract more customers as this could translate to more business for the bank.
Investigations further revealed that most people that patronize banks at this period in time were withdrawing money, rather than saving in order to celebrate the yuletide season with their loved ones.
Stephen Ogundijo, a Lagos-based journalist said he is hustling to make more money in order to travel with his family to Osun state to celebrate Christmas and New Year with his relatives.
Clement Onyekwere, an Ifo-based businessman said he hope to make a lot of money before Christmas to travel to his village in Anambra state.
Inward Ogun state from Lagos along the popular Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, there are more than 20 banks spotted around Sango Ota area and the banking halls as well as the ATM points were fully crowded as at the time of filling this report.
Some of the banks are: First bank, GTB, Zenith, Access bank, IBTC, Heritage, Fidelity bank, Ecobank, Heritage bank and IBTC, among others.
But, from Joju bus-stop through to bank bus-stop along the expressway, people living or doing business in the areas are either at the mercy of paga operators, the e-payment platforms, or will have to board a bus, keke marwa or motorcycle from their residents to Sango Ota, Ewekoro or Abeokuta in order to carry out their banking transactions.
According to the 2006 census, released by the National Population Census, Ifo local government area has 524, 837 people either resident or doing business in the LGA.
An online news portal quoted Comrade Yemi Enitan, chairman, Civil Liberties Organization, Ogun state chapter, said on Wednesday that everyday, people in their hundreds queue for hours in the sun just to use their ATM for banking transactions.
“Sometimes, the ATMs will not dispense cash and at other times, the cash dispensed would be limited to N10, 000 per transaction.” he said.
Abimbola Obasanjo, a petty trader at vesper bus-stop in Ifo, says she does not find it funny to pay between N100 to N150 for transport to Sango bus-stop to cash money with her ATM each time there is a network breakdown in Wema and Access banks, located at Vesper bus-stop.
Abuh Yussuf, a community leader at Ifelodun in Ifo says he prefer to deal with paga and quickteller and pay for the commissions, saying that he is too busy to queue for hours to cash, deposit of transfer money, using his ATM at Wema and Access banks.
However, further investigation revealed that from Joju bus-stop through to Owode, up to Vesper, there are no banks, which means the estimated 269, 206 males and 269,904 females residing in that axis in Ifo are forced to travel either to Sango, Ewekoro or even Abeokuta to carry out banking transactions.
Last week Tuesday, our reporter over 200 people that queued to carry out banking transactions on the platform of paga at Fiflof Business Venture office, located beside Vesper branch of Wema bank in Ifo.
Emeka Chukwu, one of the paga patronizes complained bitterly that he was charged N200 as commission by the business center, for withdrawing N5000 from his Zenith bank account. People, who withdraw higher amounts, also pay higher commissions.
Checks also revealed that there are numerous business centers located around communities in Sango, Ifo, Ewekoro and Abeokuta, involved in raking in thousands of naira daily from banks customers due to the erratic networks of ATMs, using paga, quickteller and other online payment platforms.
One of the paga operators at Ewekoro boasted that he makes on the average N200, 000 daily as commission from bank customers during the peak periods when the ATM networks are erratic.

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